The President George Bush Turnpike and Dallas North Tollway interchange was a traffic nightmare Monday afternoon, but it should be ready for Tuesday morning's commute.
Just before noon, a flat-bed trailer carrying a 20-ton piece of construction equipment slid on a ramp, which caused the whole rig to teeter over the edge. For several hours, the rig was hanging from an overpass and blocking westbound lanes on the Turnpike, with traffic exiting at Preston Road.
Northbound and southbound lanes on the Tollway near the interchange were closed for several hours. Traffic was backed up for miles and side streets were choked with cars.
Around 4:30 p.m. Monday, the rig was back upright and lanes on the Tollway were reopened. By the early evening, westbound Turnpike lanes at the Tollway were open. The eastbound Turnpike overpass to the northbound Tollway lanes was expected to remain closed until midnight, North Texas Tollway Authority said.
The trailer was carrying a directional boring machine, the NTTA said. Engineers eventually secured the equipment and got the rig in an upright position. Then they spent hours trying to figure out how to safely remove it. Fuel spilled onto the roadway and that needed to be cleaned up, Dallas police say.
"I try to tell people that each of these incidents are unique," NTTA spokesman Michael Rey told KERA. "It’s a physics problem that they have to solve on weights, loads, and stress. … Their first priority is always going to be safety. We’re working to get it quickly as we safely can do so."
The cause was unclear Monday afternoon.
— Dallas Police Depart (@DallasPD) September 15, 2014
Here's what NTTA says on its Facebook page:
"First responders and engineers continue to work an incident on the ramp from eastbound President George Bush Turnpike to northbound Dallas North Tollway. A piece of heavy equipment shifted during transport, overturned and is hanging over the bridge blocking the westbound PGBT lanes. As a precaution, north and southbound lanes of the DNT are shut down prior to the PGBT interchange and westbound PGBT traffic must exit at Preston Rd. Engineers continue to assess options to safely remove the equipment from the roadway. We do not have an estimated time of completion for the equipment to be safely uprighted and removed from the roadway."